Legal Aid

Brendan Fleming Solicitors are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency and can provide Legal Aid, known as Public Funding, subject to eligibility.

In 2012, the Legal Aid system was reformed and saw the introduction of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

The introduction of LASPO resulted in Legal Aid being removed for many cases where it had previously been available.
Legal Aid is available for Public Law proceedings e.g. care proceedings and adoption, subject to eligibility/availability.
Determining what services are now excluded is complex, but generally Legal Aid will not be available for private family law matters UNLESS there is proof of domestic abuse, unlawful child abduction, child abuse, forced marriage or where the child requires representation. In addition to this proof, there are strict rules on how much money and capital you can have to be eligible for Legal Aid.

To assess whether you are eligible for Legal Aid, you will need to have the following documents to show us;

  • Letters from the DWP /Job-centre /Pension Service dated within the last month, confirming what benefits you are currently in receipt of,
  • If you are employed, the most recent month’s pay slip(s); and If you are self-employed, your complete financial accounts and tax return,
  • Evidence of all other income i.e. pension documents, bank statements. The most recent bank statement from each of your bank accounts. Any share certificates, National Savings certificates or Premium Bonds,
  • Proof of your outgoings in respect of rent/mortgage – rent book or mortgage statement. If you own your house, proof of outstanding mortgage value and an up to date estimate of the market value of your house, 
  • If you are alleging domestic violence or child abuse you must bring the evidence with you (please see gateway evidence checklist shown below)

 

Gateway Checklist:

Police/Criminal and Court Evidence:

  • A relevant unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence
  • A relevant police caution for a domestic violence offence given within the 5-year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid
  • Evidence of relevant criminal proceedings for a domestic violence offence which have not concluded
  • Evidence that the abuser is on police bail for a domestic violence offence
  • A domestic violence protection notice or a domestic violence protection order against the abuser within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid
  • A conviction for a domestic violence offence where the abuser was convicted of that offence within a 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid.
  • a protective injunction which is in force or which was granted within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid
  • evidence of a court order binding over the abuser in connection with a domestic violence offence, which is in force or which was granted within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of application for legal aid
  • an undertaking given by the abuser within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, provided that a cross-undertaking was not given by the person applying for legal aid
  • a copy that there was a finding of fact that there has been domestic violence by the abuser giving rise to a risk of harm to the person applying for Legal Aid. The finding of fact must have been made by a court in the UK the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for Legal Aid.

Health and Social Evidence:

  • a letter from any person who is a member of a multi-agency risk assessment conference confirming that— (i) the applicant was referred to the conference as a victim of domestic violence; and (ii) the conference has, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, put in place a plan to protect the applicant from a risk of harm by the abuser
  • a letter or report from a health professional who has access to the medical records of the applicant for legal aid, confirming that that professional, or another health professional— (i) has examined the applicant in person within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal service; and (ii) was satisfied following that examination that the applicant had injuries or a condition consistent with those of 
  • a victim of domestic violence 
  • a letter from a social services department in England or Wales (or its equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland) confirming that, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application, the applicant was assessed as being, or at risk of being, a victim of domestic violence by the abuser (or a copy of the assessment)
  • a letter or report from a domestic violence support organisation in the United Kingdom confirming— (i) that within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, the applicant had been accommodated in a refuge; (ii) the dates on which she was admitted and, where relevant, left the refuge; and (iii) that she was admitted to the refuge because of allegations of domestic violence
  • a letter or report from a domestic violence support organisation in the United Kingdom confirming— (i) that the applicant was, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, refused admission to a refuge, on account of there being insufficient accommodation available in the refuge; and (ii) the date on which she was refused admission to the refuge
  • a letter or report from— (i) the person to whom the referral described below was made; (ii) the health professional who made the referral described below; or (iii) a health professional who has access to the medical records of the applicant, confirming that there was, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, a referral by a health professional of the applicant to a person who provides specialist support or assistance for victims of, or those at risk of, domestic violence

 

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse will now be considered by the legal aid agency, examples of this need to be within 5 years of applying for Legal aid and could include:

  • copies of both the victims and the perpetrator’s bank statements and or
  • cancelled cheques, relevant letters from banks
  • credit card accounts, loan documents and statements 
  • business financial statements, employee benefit records including insurance, 
  • stock options and bonuses
  • letter from a domestic violence support organisation 
  • money order receipts 
  • documentation about any public assistance received
  • emails, text messages, diary kept by the victim,
  • letters from employers or from an education

The rules in relation to legal Aid are strict and complicated. You may be able to check if you are likely to qualify for Legal Aid by visiting the Legal Aid section at www.justive.gov.uk

If you think you may be eligible for Legal Aid, please contact us and confirm the area which you require legal advice.

 

 

 

Contact our experts and tell us about your case

0121 683 5000

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